Kathmandu, January 30:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) will provide 25 per cent subsidy on electricity tariff to cold and frozen storages, cold chains, cold chambers and chilling vats, agriculture retail market, collection centres and slaughter houses for a decade.

As per the Agriculture Business Promotion Policy 2006, the ministry has already decided to request the authorities concerned to take steps to ensure that the policy is implemented smoothly.

“The ministry has already decided to request the departments concerned under the MoAC to study and assess the need of such business activities and come up with a proposal,” said Ganesh Kumar KC, secretary for the MoAC.

The new policy states that subsidy would be given to the business houses that promote agricultural products for 10 years.

“The subsidy is basically intended to enhance agricultural products and make agriculture-based business sustainable,” KC said. “Besides the ministry adopted the policy to promote public-private partnership programmes and this subsidy will create environment for private parties to invest in the agriculture sector.”

Some ministry officials, however, said cold storages used to receive 50 per cent subsidy on electricity tariff but from now on other similar businesses would also receive subsidy.

They said the subsidy has been fixed at 25 per cent for all types of businesses relating to agricultural products.

The officials also expressed concern over increasing load shedding schedules.

Senior agriculture economist Dr Hari Babu Tiwari said the subsidy on electricity tariff would attract more investment from the private sector in the agriculture business. “There are very few cold storages and the existing ones are not utilised fully due to various problems,” he said.

The new policy also states that the equipment used for agriculture business, including thrasher, spring cellar, weeding machine, harvester, chilling van, cooling vat, milk processor, would receive 75 per cent subsidy on customs duty.